Response to Mary McAleese’s comments today on the marriage referendum

Press release from The Iona Institute

If the referendum is passed there will be some children who will never experience a mother’s love – with the full blessing of the State

Mary McAleese has commented again today on the marriage referendum.

She said this morning: “The only children affected by this referendum will be Ireland’s gay children. It is their future which is at stake. It is in our hands. They are too few in number to win this referendum on their own.”

Her comments are very understandable in light of the fact that her son, Justin, is a gay man.

However, in a way her comments also show the vital that mothers play in the lives of their children.

As Breda O’Brien wrote recently: “Mary McAleese is a terrific role model as a woman who has always worked outside the home while maintaining a strong family life. As a mother, she is obviously vital to all her children.

But if the referendum is passed, there will be children born in this country who will never experience a mother’s love.”

This can happen through circumstance of course. If the referendum is passed, however, it will happen with the full backing of the Constitution and by deliberate design.

This is why the referendum is about children. We are being asked to change the constitutional vision of the family which currently recognises the unique character of male/female unions.

Laws around adoption, surrogacy and AHR will have their hands tied if this referendum is passed. As the Referendum Commission admits, it will be almost impossible for the law in these areas to make a distinction between male-female couples on the one hand, and same-sex couples on the other.

In effect, we will have to pretend that mothers are the same as fathers in the lives of children.

If opposite-sex couples are given access to surrogacy services, two married men will have to be given the same access. A child brought into the world via a surrogate mother and an egg donor to facilitate two men wishing to have a child will never know a mother’s love by deliberate design and that is wrong and unjust.


Notes to editor:

  1. The Iona Institute is a pro-family organisation.
  2. A fuller version of what the Referendum Commission has said concerning surrogacy, adoption and AHR can be found here.